For the first time in six years, Poche Beach in south Orange County did not make Heal the Bay's annual "Beach Bummer List."
In fact, none of Orange County's beaches were on the nonprofit environmentalist organization's list this year.
Poche Beach in the San Clemente-Dana Point area is near a flood control channel that has had high bacteria levels, according to the county.
Dana Point beaches ratings (first grade for summer, second for dry winter months, third grade for wet weather):
- Monarch Beach, north A+ B A+
- Salt Creek Beach A A C
- Dana Strand Beach, AWMA A+ A B
- Ocean Institute Beach (SERRA) A+ A A+
- Doheny Beach, North Beach A A F
- Doheny Beach, north of San Juan Creek A C C
- Doheny Beach at San Juan Creek/ocean Interface A A D
- 1000’ south of SERRA Outfall A A C
- 2000’ south of SERRA Outfall A B A
- Doheny Beach at pedestrian bridge A B A+
- Doheny Beach, end of park A A A
- Capistrano County Beach A A A+
- North Capistrano Bay Community Beach A A A
- South Capistrano Bay Community Beach A A A+
- Baby Beach, west end A
- Baby Beach, buoy line C
- Baby Beach, swim area B
- Baby Beach, east end A
- Guest dock, end, west basin A+
- Youth dock A+
Officials credited efforts to discourage bird droppings near a $3- million urban runoff treatment facility for cleaning up the beach. Construction started in 2007 and it was opened in 2009, but water from the facility would pool on the beach and draw seagulls and other birds, whose droppings increased bacteria levels in the water.
Ultrasound from outdoor speakers drove off some birds, but the problem remained, so the county hired a falconer and recently installed lifelike coyotes to function as scarecrows.
"This year's report card is welcome news," Orange County Supervisor Patricia Bates said.
"We have been very committed to discovering why certain beaches had poor water quality and took some very creative steps to fix the problems. Orange County's beaches are a beacon for residents and tourists, and we want to keep them clean and inviting."
--City News Service